7 Habits To Create Lasting Positive Change In Your Life
Most articles I see online talk about behavioral habits like gratitude journaling or going on a walk, and although those habits are absolutely helpful to increasing one’s well-being, I find it’s more important to learn how to intrinsically be motivated to start and stick to these behavioral habits from an identity-based approach.
You see, behavior itself is a product of two things; one’s self-image and their environment. Our environment, from our home, to our relationships, work, culture, and even the content we engage with from memes to music to movies, has a constant influence on the way we think and perceive of ourselves, others, and the world. We do have some control of our environment, but something we have greater control over is our self-image or identity.
When we attempt to make behavioral changes while our identity and environment remain the same, those behaviors won’t necessarily align with our self-image and current lifestyle, and they might become unsustainable or difficult to keep up with. The following list is identity-based habits that will lead to aligned, sustainable, lasting changes in your life.
Adopt a growth mindset. Embrace the fact that you are not only able to grow and change in any direction you wish to, but that you already are growing and changing, and you are already behind the steering wheel. A lot of stress and unhelpful emotions, thoughts, and sensations come from getting overwhelmed at how different you or your life will have to become for you to self-actualize, so instead, it’s important to accept where you are and have faith you will get to where you want to be, one step at a time.
Let go of shame and blame and replace them with curiosity. Pointing fingers, assigning “right” and “wrong” doesn’t do much good unless you are really getting down into the core of the issue and taking a constructive next step to make things better. This will help you to get out of the cycle of secondary emotions or feeling bad about feeling bad, and it will force you to take responsibility for what you can change and forgive and let go of the past and other people’s baggage.
Find your “why” or your vision, mission, or purpose in life. This might very well be an ongoing process, but if you create strong enough reasons to keep going no matter how difficult things get, there will be no way to get off track, as no matter which way the tracks lead you, your reason for being on them is steadfast.
Assign empowering meaning to past, current, and future events. Think of your life as a hero’s journey; you are in a process of self-actualization, and every setback is an opportunity for growth that is helping you on your way to becoming your best self. Imagine the whole world is conspiring for your highest potential, and overcoming every obstacle you face is how you get closer to it.
Let go of your need for control. You don’t have to let go of control entirely, but you don’t have to know exactly how things are going to unfold in order for them to unfold well. If you can find a way to not be attached to outcomes, and instead focus on what your intentions are regardless of the outcomes, you maintain self-mastery without getting caught up in disappointment, frustration, or stress by having things not go exactly the way you wanted or expected them to. Thinking that you need something implies a belief that you don’t already have it. You have control, and thus you don’t need it.
Embrace the paradoxical and absurd nature of reality. Dialectical thinking is the practice of holding two seemingly opposing truths to be valid at the same time. Reality is chock-full of polarities and dualities. It can be confusing and bewildering, but it is also very freeing, in a way. All things are some percentage true, and seemingly opposite things are usually one and the same, like a pendulum swinging to the extreme of one side to the other, each extreme perpetuating the existence of the other. Accepting reality, others, and ourselves as we are means coming to terms with how reality functions. There is no light without dark, no evil without good. In the end, it’s all about flowing with life on life’s terms and doing what we do best: imbuing it with empowering meaning and purpose.
Don’t use achievement or material possessions as measures of your self worth. You are not defined by anything or anyone but yourself at all times. There is nothing you need to do, have, or be to be enough exactly as you are. If you are doing everything you do to try and prove your value, it’s clear that you don’t believe in it. You are innately worthy of love, peace, joy, and abundance. You already have so much to offer and limitless potential. However, if you keep selling yourself short and using things you don’t have yet as evidence that you are not enough, all you are doing is perpetuating that reality.
In conclusion, transformation does not begin at a behavioral level. It starts at an identity level. If you can begin to really become aware of and course-correct the beliefs you have on a subconscious level, you can begin to unblock your highest potential. It’s all about being conscious, mindful, and committed to expanding your awareness with new perspectives.
Once you’re freed up of common mental pitfalls and well on your way towards aligned, intentional living, the right habits for you will naturally be a part of your life, because that’s just who you are and what someone like you would do.
Love where you are.
Ren Breese AKA Susa
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